Chronic Illness Counseling - GreenTPsychology - New York, NY
Are You Struggling To Manage Health And Wellness Concerns?
Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with a chronic illness, such as an autoimmune disease, cancer, heart disease, lung disease or an STD? Are you struggling to cope with difficult or distressing emotions related to managing the illness? Perhaps you have experienced a drastic change in your medication, which has affected your work performance and personal relationships. You may find it difficult to communicate your needs and feelings directly to those around you, and their lack of understanding can cause heavy feelings of stress and isolation. Maybe you have an illness that doesn’t present physical symptoms, and you frequently have to explain that you indeed do require accommodations. Are you frustrated, angry or afraid about the status of your health and how it impacts your life? Do you wish that others could understand what you are going through?
Managing a chronic illness can be a lonely and often physically uncomfortable experience. Although this difficulty can manifest as low-level sadness and frustration, it can also lead to clinical anxiety and depression. Do you dread having to ask others for help, explaining that you have no control over what your body is doing or do you regularly feel like others stigmatize your experience? Chronic illness counseling can help you better communicate your needs and decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression so you can feel more confident going into the world.
Many Individuals Have A Hard Time Coping With Chronic Illness.
Struggling to manage the difficult emotions of a chronic illness is extremely common. According to Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, nearly half of all adults in the United States, approximately 117 million people, have at least one chronic health condition. And, among this population, the rates of anxiety and depression are significantly higher compared to the general public. While illness can cause bodily changes, such as inflammation, tumors or changes to the brain, it can also cause emotional and behavioral changes which are often misunderstood or unacknowledged.
Because disease is very stigmatized in our society, there are numerous misconceptions and faulty assumptions about chronic conditions. For example, people with “invisible” conditions, such as lupus, MS, fibromyalgia, among other autoimmune disorders, often are accused of fabricating their illness as the result of a mental condition. On top of all of the other concerns related to your illness, these uninformed judgments can be incredibly frustrating.
Rather than asking about your needs, people often superimpose what your accommodations may be, so their effort to care actually comes off as insensitive. Furthermore, you may feel responsible for tending to the emotional needs of those around you, which adds to your stress and inhibits your ability to cope with your own challenges.
Chronic Illness Counseling Can Help You Cope.
Therapy can help you learn to manage chronic illness and smoothly navigate your day-to-day living. It provides a safe space where your needs are attended to and your experience is heard. Through sessions at GreenTPsychology in New York, you can expect to feel more comfortable and in-control of your life. I will help you take active steps toward managing your illness while we find creative solutions that are specific to and accommodate your needs. You will learn how to effectively communicate with others and address how your condition may be impacting your relationships or work-life balance. We will practice active coping techniques, mindfulness exercises and breathing techniques that you can incorporate into your daily routine to find relief when you feel overwhelmed by stress or sadness.
I take an integrative approach to chronic illness counseling. I provide a safe, trusting, warm and empathetic space where you can openly explore your desires. Together, we will collaborate to empower you to make the changes you need to feel more in control of your life moving forward. I will strive to help you reclaim a sense of confidence while I assist you in being able to live the type of life you want.
I’ve been working with patients with chronic illness my entire career. I’ve taught two health psychology courses at Fordham University, I received pre-doctoral training working on the floor at Lenox Hill Hospital, I maintain an active blog on chronic illness and I continue to travel and lecture on coping with chronic illness. I am also a Community Ambassador for the Lupus Foundation of America.
I know that adjusting to the restrictions of illness can be very difficult. However, with help and support, it is possible to adapt to your new situation in ways that feel manageable and rewarding. Even with a chronic illness, you can experience harmony and happiness in your life.
Although You Can See the Benefits of Chronic Illness Counseling, You May Still Have Some Questions or Concerns About Therapy.
Why should I go to therapy when my problems are medical and not mental.
The mind and the body are not separate; they work together. The fact that you may benefit from therapy doesn’t invalidate the reality of your condition; it only shows your willingness to acknowledge that your illness has effects that make life more difficult. Therapy can help you not only manage your emotions but also help you manage your medical condition, which improves both the body and mind.
If I go to chronic illness counseling then I have to acknowledge that my life has changed. I like to pretend that everything is the same as before my illness.
Facing the reality of your condition can be extremely difficult; however, it’s also very important. Being passive about your illness keeps you in a cycle of disempowerment and leaves you feeling out of control. Facing your struggles head-on, however, can help you develop a more positive outlook and reclaim your life. There may be times in our sessions when you don’t want to divulge something, and that’s perfectly all right. We don’t have to solely focus on your illness. Hopefully, through therapy you will realize that your illness is only one part among many important parts of your life.
Nobody else seems to understand my experience. How will you be any different?
Your friends, family and coworkers likely aren’t trained to understand what living with a chronic illness can be like. Additionally, you may worry about the consequences of sharing your experiences, such as upsetting people who are close to you or changing roles at work. I am trained to listen to your difficult emotions and painful experiences in a way that relieves you from adverse judgment. I’m also trained to ask you specific questions so that I can understand your unique experience. Speaking with a qualified, careful and compassionate professional can help you strengthen the bond of your relationships, better communicate your desires, increase your confidence and effectively manage your illness so that you can achieve balance and joy.
Chronic Illness Counseling Can Help You Reclaim Your Life!
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